Tim Combs, a valued member of the Leader family, and an integral part of its sales team, passed away suddenly in November. Here, we offer a short memorial of him.
Have you ever met someone who could walk into a room full of strangers and within minutes start connecting folks? That was Tim Combs.
“Tim loved people and made every chance to connect with them,” says Kevin Lawyer. Kevin worked closely with Tim as they were both on the sales team. They had dinner together fairly often and attended many trade shows together. “Tim cared about people. He cared about families. He remembered birthdays. He’d bring donuts to job sites. He’d go to baseball games to support friends and family. That’s just who he was,” says Kevin.
Bill Waldrep is Leader’s new Director of Operations. His first few contacts with Tim were through Zoom but that didn’t stop Tim from bantering with Bill about baseball and whiskey. When they finally met in person, Tim brought a bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup with him and gave it to Bill.
David Butler, also in Sales, recalls how the team took Tim with them into the woods on a client’s job site once. Tim was so excited, he went a little too far into the woods by himself, and David had to go get him. Always a learner, Tim jumped on the chance to understand everything he could about trees and woods, and within a short time became the most knowledgeable sales person in the field.
For Joel Oelke, Tim was the ultimate cheerer-upper. Joel remembers talking to Tim on a late Friday afternoon, on a tight deadline for a client and needing answers on a project. Tim made Joel laugh, gave him the answers he needed, and showed up first thing Monday morning to help Joel with the rest.
Steve Bendzak, VP of Sales and another newcomer to Leader, always admired Tim’s ability to collaborate with our national dealers over Zoom and how Tim’s job strengths and abilities were never hindered by the challenges presented by Covid.
Lastly, Jen Dean of our Customer Service department remembers a time she walked around Leader’s building with one of Tim’s clients while Tim was delayed. Jen was concerned about her decision to show the client around Leader without Tim. When Tim arrived, he had a box of donuts at the ready, was thrilled Jen took the initiative she did, and put his arm around her and told her she could stick around if she wanted to learn.
Tim’s presence and caring will always be felt here at Leader. We are honored to have been a part of his life.
Remembrances Shared on Facebook
"Tim was a good man, very friendly. He will be missed by many of us."
– Joyce Gaudette
"I met Tim a few years ago, here in Kentucky. He was a big help to maple producers here. He will be missed. Prayers for his family, friends and co-workers. Thanks Tim!"
– Jeremy Williams
"Tim was a great help to me when I took over the family maple business after my father passed away. He will be greatly missed..."
– Ralphie Hubbell
"Tim was a special kind of guys ... leader won’t be the same ever again! sympathy to the family and they sure can be proud of the “heck of a guy” that he was!"
– Bonnie Catalfu
"Tim was a good joker. When we worked together he was always ready to get a zinger in on someone, or set one up. We had a lot of laughs. I'm so sad that he is gone."
– James Trombley
Timothy Stuart Combs, 49, died unexpectedly at his home due to a medical condition.
Tim was born on January 29, 1971, in St. Albans, the son of Stuart and Karen (Montgomery) Combs. He graduated high school from Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax in 1989, where he met the love of his life, Kimberly. Tim played baseball, basketball, and soccer in high school and always claimed he only played soccer because there was no football! On June 20, 1992, Tim married his middle school sweetheart, Kimberly Delorme. They soon settled back in Fairfax, where they raised their children. The love Tim had for his family was undeniable, his wife Kim and children Alexis and Kyle were his world.
Tim loved sports of any kind; but baseball, basketball, and football were his favorites. Not only did he have a love for these sports but a true passion for coaching. Tim was so proud to coach his son and be part of the staff that celebrated two state championship baseball teams. His love for sports did not end on the field, he was a basketball referee and baseball umpire, and was always known for having his multiple “extra sons” at the house at any given time in or out of season. There was often a group of kids at the Combs house to watch a game, play video games, share a meal, or simply to drop by and hang out. Tim also loved watching the Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, the Georgia Bulldogs, and NASCAR, and could talk sports trivia for hours, which he preferred to do from his favorite recliner or a good friends’ garage.
Aside from his interest in sports, he loved his job at Leader Evaporator where he worked for eight years. Leader was not just a workplace for Tim, the many hours he spent on the road traveling to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky gave him the opportunity to bond with his customers and he considered them close friends and family.
Tim will be dearly and forever missed by his family. By his wife of over 28 years, Kimberly Combs of Fairfax, and their children Alexis Combs and partner Colin Menard of Fairfield and Kyle Combs of Fairfax, by his mother and father Karen and Stuart Combs of Swanton, his mother-in-law Elaine Delorme of Fairfax, his sister Julie Holcomb and her husband Chris of St. Albans and their children Ryan, Luke and Sophia; his sister-in-law Lindy Delorme Carpenter and her husband John of Fairfax, and their children Austen and Chace, and by a wealth of friends and family both near and far.
Tim was predeceased by his grandparents Frederick and Janice Montgomery and Carmi and Annette Combs, and his father-in-law Kenneth Delorme.
For those who wish, memorial contributions in Tim’s memory may be made to “BFA Fairfax Athletics”, 75 Hunt Street, Fairfax, Vermont 05454, and funds will be used in ways to best preserve his memory and love of sports for young athletes.